Insects as drivers of ecosystem processes

Published on Aug 1, 2014in Current opinion in insect science 4.17
· DOI :10.1016/j.cois.2014.06.004
Louie H. Yang21
Estimated H-index: 21
(University of California, Davis),
Claudio Gratton38
Estimated H-index: 38
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Abstract
Insects and other small invertebrates are ubiquitous components of all terrestrial and freshwater food webs, but their cumulative biomass is small relative to plants and microbes. As a result, it is often assumed that these animals make relatively minor contributions to ecosystem processes. Despite their small sizes and cumulative biomass, we suggest that these animals may commonly have important effects on carbon and nutrient cycling by modulating the quality and quantity of resources that enter the detrital food web, with consequences at the ecosystem level. These effects can occur through multiple pathways, including direct inputs of insect biomass, the transformation of detrital biomass, and the indirect effects of predators on herbivores and detritivores. In virtually all cases, the ecosystem effects of these pathways are ultimately mediated through interactions with plants and soil microbes. Merging our understanding of insect, plant and microbial ecology will offer a valuable way to better integrate community-level interactions with ecosystem processes.
  • References (80)
  • Citations (36)
Cite
References80
Published on Jan 1, 1997in European Journal of Soil Biology 2.07
Patrick Lavelle54
Estimated H-index: 54
,
David E. Bignell30
Estimated H-index: 30
+ 5 AuthorsS. Dhillion1
Estimated H-index: 1
Cette revue place au centre des interactions entre les plantes, les animaux et les microorganismes du sol, les invertebres abondants et de grande taille qui ingerent des particules organiques et minerales produisant ainsi des structures durables. Ces invertebres sont appeles organismes ingenieurs du sol et les donnees disponibles sur leur abondance, leur distribution geographique et leurs roles fonctionnels montrent que les vers de terre et les termites en sont les principaux representants. Ils ...
787 Citations
Published on Oct 1, 2010in Ecology Letters 9.14
Oswald J. Schmitz48
Estimated H-index: 48
(Yale University),
Dror Hawlena19
Estimated H-index: 19
(Yale University),
Geoffrey C. Trussell29
Estimated H-index: 29
(Northeastern University)
Predators are predominantly valued for their ability to control prey, as indicators of high levels of biodiversity and as tourism attractions. This view, however, is incomplete because it does not acknowledge that predators may play a significant role in the delivery of critical life-support services such as ecosystem nutrient cycling. New research is beginning to show that predator effects on nutrient cycling are ubiquitous. These effects emerge from direct nutrient excretion, egestion or trans...
177 Citations Source Cite
Published on Sep 1, 1979
M. J. Swift1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
O. W. Heal1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
J. M. Anderson1
Estimated H-index: 1
2,838 Citations
Published on Aug 1, 2008in Ecosystems 4.03
Claudio Gratton38
Estimated H-index: 38
(University of Wisconsin-Madison),
Jack R. Donaldson15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Wisconsin-Madison),
M. Jake Vander Zanden45
Estimated H-index: 45
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Despite a recent emphasis on understanding cross-habitat interactions, few studies have examined the ecological linkages between lakes and surrounding terrestrial habitats. The current paradigm of land–lake interactions is typically unidirectional: the view is that nutrients and matter are transported downslope from the surrounding watershed to their ultimate lacustrine destination. Emergent aquatic insects, which spend their larval stages in lake sediments and emerge as adults to mate over land...
105 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 15, 2012in Science 41.06
Dror Hawlena19
Estimated H-index: 19
(Yale University),
Michael S. Strickland21
Estimated H-index: 21
(Yale University)
+ 1 AuthorsOswald J. Schmitz48
Estimated H-index: 48
(Yale University)
Aboveground consumers are believed to affect ecosystem functioning by regulating the quantity and quality of plant litter entering the soil. We uncovered a pathway whereby terrestrial predators regulate ecosystem processes via indirect control over soil community function. Grasshopper herbivores stressed by spider predators have a higher body carbon-to-nitrogen ratio than do grasshoppers raised without spiders. This change in elemental content does not slow grasshopper decomposition but perturbs...
124 Citations Source Cite
Published on Aug 1, 2009in Biological Reviews 11.70
Christian Kampichler23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco),
Alexander Bruckner14
Estimated H-index: 14
Litterbags have been utilized in soil ecology for about 50 years. They are useful because they confine organic material and thus enable the study of decomposition dynamics (mass loss and/or nutrient loss through time, colonization by soil biota) in situ, i.e. under field conditions. Researchers can easily restrict or permit access to certain size classes of soil fauna to determine their contribution to litter mass loss by choosing adequate mesh size or applying specific biocides. In particular, ...
86 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2006in Oecologia 3.13
Louie H. Yang21
Estimated H-index: 21
(University of California)
Detritivore communities influence the decomposition of detrital resources in virtually all natural systems. Conversely, detrital resources can also have considerable bottom-up effects on detritivore communities. While many investigations have examined detritivory and decomposition processes, few have considered interactions between detritivores and detritus as concurrent processes in the same system, or in the context of natural detrital pulses. In many systems, resource pulses contribute substa...
45 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 2008in Global Change Biology 9.00
Diana H. Wall56
Estimated H-index: 56
(Colorado State University),
Mark A. Bradford48
Estimated H-index: 48
(University of Georgia)
+ 33 AuthorsWinfried Voigt16
Estimated H-index: 16
(University of Jena)
Climate and litter quality are primary drivers of terrestrial decomposition and, based on evidence from multisite experiments at regional and global scales, are universally factored into global decomposition models. In contrast, soil animals are considered key regulators of decomposition at local scales but their role at larger scales is unresolved. Soil animals are consequently excluded from global models of organic mineralization processes. Incomplete assessment of the roles of soil animals st...
225 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 5, 1982in Science 41.06
P. R. Zimmerman1
Estimated H-index: 1
(National Center for Atmospheric Research),
J. P. Greenberg43
Estimated H-index: 43
(National Center for Atmospheric Research)
+ 1 AuthorsPaul J. Crutzen111
Estimated H-index: 111
(Max Planck Society)
Termites may emit large quantities of methane, carbon dioxide, and molecular hydrogen into the atmosphere. Global annual emissions calculated from laboratory measurements could reach 1.5 x 10 14 grams of methane and 5 x 10 16 grams of carbon dioxide. As much as 2 x 10 14 grams of molecular hydrogen may also be produced. Field measurements of methane emissions from two termite nests in Guatemala corroborated the laboratory results. The largest emissions should occur in tropical areas disturbed by...
194 Citations Source Cite
  • References (80)
  • Citations (36)
Cite
Cited By36
Published on Jun 1, 2015in Current opinion in insect science 4.17
Malte Jochum8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Göttingen),
Ulrich Brose10
Estimated H-index: 10
(University of Jena),
Anthony I. Dell13
Estimated H-index: 13
The role of body size as a key feature determining the biology and ecology of individual animals, and thus the structure and dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems, has long been acknowledged. Body size provides a functional link between individual-level processes such as physiology and behavior, with higher-level ecological processes such as the strength and outcome of trophic interactions, which regulate the flow of energy and nutrients within and across ecosystems. Early ecologi...
5 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2015in Current opinion in insect science 4.17
Andreas P. Modlmeier13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Pittsburgh),
Carl N. Keiser12
Estimated H-index: 12
(University of Pittsburgh)
+ 2 AuthorsJonathan N. Pruitt29
Estimated H-index: 29
(University of Pittsburgh)
Despite the recent surge of interest in the concept of animal personalities, that is, temporally consistent individual differences in behavior, few studies have integrated intraspecific behavioral variation in population or community ecology. Insects and other arthropods provide ideal model systems to study how intraspecific behavioral variation affects phenomena in ecology. This is due to the fact that arthropods not only are highly amenable to experimental manipulation, but they also allow us ...
19 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 1, 2015in Ecology 4.62
Jamin Dreyer7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Wisconsin-Madison),
Philip A. Townsend22
Estimated H-index: 22
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
+ 3 AuthorsClaudio Gratton38
Estimated H-index: 38
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Adjacent ecosystems are influenced by organisms that move across boundaries, such as insects with aquatic larval stages and terrestrial adult stages, which transport energy and nutrients from water to land. However, the ecosystem-level effect of aquatic insects on land has generally been ignored, perhaps because the organisms themselves are individually small. At the naturally productive Lake Mývatn, Iceland, we used two readily measured quantities: total insect emergence from water and relative...
27 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 1, 2015in Ecology 4.62
Connor R. Fitzpatrick4
Estimated H-index: 4
(University of Toronto),
Anurag A. Agrawal70
Estimated H-index: 70
(Cornell University)
+ 4 AuthorsMarc T. J. Johnson32
Estimated H-index: 32
(University of Toronto)
Plant genetic variation and evolutionary dynamics are predicted to impact ecosystem processes but these effects are poorly understood. Here we test the hypothesis that plant genotype and contemporary evolution influence the flux of energy and nutrients through soil, which then feedback to affect seedling performance in subsequent generations. We conducted a multiyear field evolution experiment using the native biennial plant Oenothera biennis. This experiment was coupled with experimental assays...
12 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 2015in Global Ecology and Conservation
Dorothy Y. Maguire5
Estimated H-index: 5
(McGill University),
Patrick M. A. James13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Université de Montréal)
+ 1 AuthorsElena M. Bennett29
Estimated H-index: 29
(McGill University)
Abstract Current theory suggests that ecosystem services in fragmented landscapes can be maintained by preserving connectivity of remaining habitat patches. However connectivity does not always influence services positively. For example, outbreaks of destructive insect herbivores can be facilitated by connectivity among forest patches. Understanding the positive and negative effects of connectivity on ecosystem processes is needed to help scientists and managers anticipate tradeoffs among servic...
11 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2016in Environmental Microbiology 4.97
Jennifer L. Pechal9
Estimated H-index: 9
(Michigan State University),
M. Eric Benbow25
Estimated H-index: 25
(Michigan State University)
Carrion decomposition is driven by complex relationships that affect necrobiome community (i.e. all organisms and their genes associated with a dead animal) interactions, such as insect species arrival time to carrion and microbial succession. Little is understood about how microbial communities interact with invertebrates at the aquatic-terrestrial habitat interface. The first objective of the study was to characterize internal microbial communities using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA ...
15 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 3, 2016in PLOS ONE 2.77
Dorothy Y. Maguire5
Estimated H-index: 5
(McGill University),
Christopher M. Buddle24
Estimated H-index: 24
(McGill University),
Elena M. Bennett29
Estimated H-index: 29
(McGill University)
Fragmentation changes the spatial patterns of landscapes in ways that can alter the flow of materials and species; however, our understanding of the consequences of this fragmentation and flow alteration for ecosystem processes and ecosystem services remains limited. As an ecological process that affects many ecosystem services and is sensitive to fragmentation, insect herbivory is a good model system for exploring the role of fragmentation, and the resulting spatial patterns of landscapes, in t...
3 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Copeia 1.22
Joseph R. Milanovich7
Estimated H-index: 7
,
William E. Peterman18
Estimated H-index: 18
Animals found in high densities can have significant influence in nutrient cycles of ecosystems. For example, frogs have been known to influence nutrient cycles in tropical forests. However, research understanding the influence of vertebrates in nutrient cycles of North American forest is limited. It has been found that the biomass of terrestrial salamanders (family Plethodontidae) is higher than that of birds, small mammals, and deer in a New Hampshire forest, and recent studies have found prio...
6 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 15, 2015in Biology Letters 3.35
Robert W. Buchkowski6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Yale University),
Oswald J. Schmitz48
Estimated H-index: 48
(Yale University)
Nitrogen (N) cycling is a fundamental process central to numerous ecosystem functions and services. Accumulating evidence suggests that species within detritus- and plant-based food chains can play an instrumental role in regulating this process. However, the effects of each food chain are usually examined in isolation of each other, so it remains uncertain if their effects are equally important or if one chain exerts predominant control. We experimentally manipulated the species composition of ...
4 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 2, 2016in Ecoscience 0.70
Dorothy Y. Maguire5
Estimated H-index: 5
(McGill University),
Elena M. Bennett29
Estimated H-index: 29
(McGill University),
Christopher M. Buddle24
Estimated H-index: 24
(McGill University)
ABSTRACTForest fragments and their tree canopies may act as important reservoirs for biodiversity, but their role in supporting diversity is poorly understood in the context of their spatial arrangement. We examine the influence of landscape configuration and location within forest patches (e.g. canopy, edge or patch interior) on patterns of arthropod biodiversity associated with sugar maple trees across an agricultural landscape in southern Quebec (Canada). We sampled arthropods from sugar mapl...
Source Cite